Iraq/US Nearing Timetable for Withdrawal
Doesn't this take away a major plank from Barack Obama's platform?
Iraq and the U.S. are near an agreement on all American combat troops leaving Iraq by October 2010, with the last soldiers out three years after that, two Iraqi officials told The Associated Press on Thursday. U.S. officials, however, insisted no dates had been agreed.
The proposed agreement calls for Americans to hand over parts of Baghdad's Green Zone - where the U.S. Embassy is located - to the Iraqis by the end of 2008. It would also remove U.S. forces from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, according to the two senior officials, both close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and familiar with the negotiations.
The officials, who spoke separately on condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing, said all U.S. combat troops would leave Iraq by October 2010, with the remaining support personnel gone "around 2013." The schedule could be amended if both sides agree - a face-saving escape clause that would extend the presence of U.S. forces if security conditions warrant it.
Furthermore, what if something happens between now and then? Will they stick to the timetable no matter what? What if the Iraqis get their act together and have a fully functioning democracy with good security in place? Will we stay until the expiration date? What happens when a terrorist group detonates a dirty nuke in the Green Zone? Will we say "tough" and leave according to plan?
Bad things happen when a country leaves too early. According to many historians the reason for WWII is that Germany was left in total disrepair after WWI. That cannot be allowed to happen in the Middle East now and I fear that setting a concrete timetable will lead to that.